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Stephen Responds to False Accusations

by on September 25, 2015

Stephen Responds to False Accusations – Acts chapter 7

Intro
The early Church experienced problems within (Ananias) and persecution from without (Sanhedrin).
They also experienced growth –Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7). This growth became a threat to the religious system.

I. Stephen’s qualifications
Of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom,
Full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs
They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke
He was chosen by the new Church to be ordained – prayed and laid hands on him

II. The false accusations against him
Members of a synagogue disputed with Stephen
They secretly induced men to say that he blasphemed
They stirred up the people and elders and scribes
They seized him and brought him to the Sanhedrin
They also set up false witnesses

III. History of false accusations – some examples
Naboth – (I Kings 21:8-14)
Jeremiah – (Jeremiah 26)
Jesus – (Mark 14:55-59, I Peter 2:22-23)
Stephen – (Acts 6:13)
Paul – (Acts 18:12-14)
Read Psalm 109

IV. The Demonic wickedness of false accusations
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
II Timothy 3:1-5

The word translated “false accusers” is the word for devil – (English diabolical)
To falsely accuse a Godly person is the worst persecution of all – Satan’s tactic

V. Stephen
A. His Response
Opening greeting is like Moses’ words to his people
Stephen – “Men and brethren” 7:1 – Moses – “Sirs, brethren” 7:26
Recounts the history of Israel – God’s faithfulness and Israel’s unfaithfulness
Examples: Joseph, Jacob (Israel), Moses
Moses was rejected by Israel
Joseph was rejected by his family
Jacob did not receive the promise made to him – it is still to be fulfilled
The Sanhedrin rejected Jesus 6:35–‘they understood not’
Moses prophecy of a prophet shall God raise up 7:37
God does not live in temples made with hands

B. His rebuke
51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 “who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” Acts 7:51-53

VI. Sanhedrin’s response
They were cut to the heart – they were guilty
They displayed barbaric behavior – they felt justified to do that
They cried out and stopped their ears – they did not want to hear truth
They cast him out of the city and stoned him to death –they got rid of him
They did not take Gamaliel’s advice (Acts 5:34-39)

Notes
The Glory of God – 7:2, 55
Stephen, a ‘deacon’ preached the God of glory and saw the glory of God
Stephen saw Jesus standing (to welcome His child home)
Stephen prayed that their sin would not be laid to their charge
(Jesus had prayed the same prayer)
This was a memory in the mind of a young religious leader named Saul
The religious leaders would not tolerate the truth applied to themselves
There are heretics – those who do not accept the Word of God
There are “heretics” – those who do not accept religious systems
Religious systems reject God’s prophets in favor of their own politics
Stephen responded with Scripture and history
The Bible contains much history for our learning
God takes rejection and persecution and turns it into blessing
Devout men carried Stephen to his burial after he ‘fell asleep’
God always has “7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal”
There is the way of truth and there is the way of comfort
Which will you choose?

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